Judicial Influence on Policy Outputs? The Political Constraints of Legal Integration in the European Union

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The ability of courts to generate political change has long been debated in national, comparative, and international politics. In the examination of the interaction between judicial and legislative politics, scholars have disagreed on the degree of judicial power and the ability of politics to override unwanted jurisprudence. In this debate, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has become famous for its central and occasionally controversial role in European integration. This article examines to what extent and under which conditions judicial decisions influence European Union (EU) social policy outputs. A taxonomy of judicial influence is constructed, and expectations of institutional and political conditions on judicial influence are presented. The analysis draws on an extensive novel data set and examines judicial influence on EU social policies over time, that is, between 1958 and 2014, as well as for case studies of working-time regulations and patients’ rights. The findings demonstrate that both the codification and overriding of judicial decisions are unlikely in the contemporary EU-28 of fragmented politics. However, modification and nonadoption constitute other political responses to attenuate unwelcome jurisprudence and constrain the legislative effect of judicial decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1612-1660
Number of pages49
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - law and politics, judicial influence, legislative politics, Europen Union, interinstitutional dynamics

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